Russia plans to mine Bitcoin using flare gas

Russia continues to hint at its commitment to becoming a leading cryptocurrency hub. The recent sanctions imposed on the country have led to government agencies looking for alternative ways they can interact with the crypto space to sustain the economy.

Russia is now turning its attention toward the cryptocurrency mining industry. The country plans to start legalizing crypto trading and payments despite being previously skeptical about crypto trading and payments.

Russia plans to use flare gas to mine Bitcoin

Gazprom, a state-owned gas company, based in Russia, has partnered with BitRiver, a company offering host services for leading crypto mining companies. Gazprom will offer the data centers of Gazprom electricity created from the associated petroleum gas.

Through this partnership, BitRiver will create the digital infrastructure needed in the oil fields that Gazprom needs to support crypto mining services from the flare gas. The first deputy CEO at Gazprom, Vadim Yakovlev, said that the business model needed by Gazprom does not involve digital assets.

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The gas company is also working on optimizing the use of energy resources to support the growth of renewable energy. Yakovlev said the company was committed to supporting new beneficial use cases of associated petroleum gas.

“Reducing our carbon footprint is an essential component of Gazprom Neft’s ESG policy… By combining technologies and competencies with partners, we create the best industry practices for the efficient and environmentally friendly use of natural resources,” the executive added.

The announcement said that crypto mining projects depending on flare gas were relevant for those working in new oil fields that do not possess a solid gas transmission infrastructure. The company also has the option to create these projects on remote oil fields based in Siberia. These fields are linked with surplus electricity and flare gas logistics.

The founder and CEO of BitRiver, Igor Runets, commented on the development, saying that partnering with Gazprom would support the company’s plans to raise the total capacity to 2 gigawatts within two years.

Russia as a Bitcoin mining hub

This is not the first time Russia has considered supporting Bitcoin mining using associated petroleum gas. The country had announced similar plans in October 2021. Russia is a leading player in the global energy market and Bitcoin mining activities. The country ranked as the third-largest Bitcoin miner in August last year.

However, the latest index shows that Bitcoin mining activities in the country have slowed down. The country is now the fifth-largest Bitcoin miner after its hash rate dropped from 13.6 EH/S in August 2021 to 8.6 EH/s in January 2022.

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